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Women Lose the Right to Drive in Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan Women

Photo: Veni

When Saudi Arabia announced in September that women would gain the right to drive in June of 2018, ladies around the world celebrated. Saudi Arabia was the only country on earth that outlawed female drivers, and the proclamation meant that all women had the legal right to get behind the wheel, at least theoretically.  We had a whole three months of being happy before someone came in and messed it all up.

I’m looking at you, Turkmenistan.

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This country in Central Asia is controlled by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who is widely considered to be a dictator in the rest of the world. In December he banned women from driving cars right after he decided to ban black vehicles in the county (because white cars are luckier, duh). While it was announced at the end of 2017, it took until this month for local police to start looking for women in the driver’s seat. If you’re caught driving, you not only get your license seized but your car taken as well. Not only do you get in trouble for driving, but there are reports of police calling women who have licenses to ask how they possibly passed the driving exam and where they got the money to pay for their car.

While Turkmenistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation according to the Pew Research Center, it doesn’t seem as if this new edict is rooted in the interpretation of religious texts, like Saudi Arabia claimed its ban to be. Supposedly Turkmenistan’s Interior Minister complained that women drivers are responsible for the majority of car accidents on that country’s roads, so the President decided to take action.

Of course, there are no stats to back up that statement, but even if they were, the next logical step is to ramp up driver education courses or change traffic law enforcement. Taking away the freedom of the road from an entire gender is simply bananas.

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Well readers, it was good while it lasted. It’s time to start fighting again for gender parity behind the wheel. Are you in?

News Sources: Jalopnik, The Drive, Pew Research Center